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Watch, Read, or Listen to: Welcoming Marlene Hoffman to the ThreeWill Team

In this podcast, Welcoming Marlene Hoffman to the ThreeWill Team, we discuss:

:20An introduction
1:35Background of how Marlene ended up at ThreeWill
9:58Fun fact



Danny Ryan:It’s Tuesday, November 17th, and today I talk with Marlene Hoffman. She’s our Marketing Manager at ThreeWill. We’re going to talk about her first 30 days and as a bonus at the end of this, you’ll learn something about her that you probably don’t know. I hope you enjoy this podcast.


Today I am here with Marlene Hoffman. Hi, Marlene. How are you doing?


Marlene Hoffman:I’m doing well. How are you?


Danny Ryan:I’m doing great. The day of reckoning has come, it’s time for us to do this. Now, you’re going to be taking over this before too long and you’ll be doing interviewing. What do you think about that? You’re like, “No.”


Marlene Hoffman:It’s okay as long as I’m interviewing someone else. If you interview me, then I’m not sure about it.


Danny Ryan:Yes, the asking the question-


Marlene Hoffman:Can we turn the tables? Can I interview you instead?


Danny Ryan:Can one day if you’d like to. Not today. But we’re joking around a little bit here because we put this off a couple of times. I delayed it a couple of times, but just wanted to get together. She’s our newest… Well, I guess not even our newest ThreeWiller. There’s somebody who’s joined after you, but she’s been at ThreeWill now for 30 days, so we want to check in. It’s been the best 30 days of your life, right?


Marlene Hoffman:It has been. I’m excited to be here.


Danny Ryan:That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Let’s go ahead and jump right into our questions for today. What’s your role at ThreeWill? What are you doing at ThreeWill?


Marlene Hoffman:I am the new Marketing Manager. I think this is a newly created position.


Danny Ryan:Awesome. Awesome. How did you end up here? Give me the background of how you ended up at ThreeWill.


Marlene Hoffman:This summer, as we all are aware, we had the pandemic and I was laid off from my prior organization, and I started reaching out to people that I knew. And I reached out to Jeff Meyer and Jeff mentioned that there was a possibility of a position at ThreeWill, and so that’s how my story begins.


Danny Ryan:Awesome. Very good. And you’ve worked together with Jeff over at InfraScience.


Marlene Hoffman:That is correct.


Danny Ryan:It’s funny because when I looked through my email history I was getting, the newsletters were coming from you, when InfraScience was around, and so actually you were in my contacts. So I was like, “Oh, okay. I know her. Yes, that’s right.” So, tell me, what’s the first 30 days at ThreeWill, what’s that been like?


Marlene Hoffman:It’s been really exciting, and of course it’s been different with the pandemic because my interviews were all done over Teams. Just trying to learn everyone within the organization and learn about the organization, it’s been different from a pandemic standpoint.


Danny Ryan:Yeah. So a lot of it’s been… I guess, meeting everybody virtually and then… But was it last week you were here?


Marlene Hoffman:I did. I came [crosstalk 00:03:12]


Danny Ryan:So you were able to meet some folks in person, which was nice.


Marlene Hoffman:Yes, it was. It was.


Danny Ryan:I didn’t have the chance to verify that you are actually physically a human being, but I’ll take Austin’s word for it and Pete’s word for it that’s it’s not virtual Marlene.


Marlene Hoffman:Right. [crosstalk 00:03:29] It was really exciting. It was exciting to meet Austin. Austin gave me an office tour so I was actually able to come in to the office, of course socially distancing, and get a tour of everything and learn the location of the office and whenever we are able to come back in.


Danny Ryan:Yeah, that’ll be nice when that day returns, but, yeah. And it’s a neat office. We actually… It’s funny. We recently made some improvements to it just in time for the pandemic.


Marlene Hoffman:I’m sorry. I missed the candy.


Danny Ryan:Yes, the candy, and we had food-


Marlene Hoffman:… and the kitchen, the [inaudible 00:04:07] snack area.


Danny Ryan:Yeah, we have SnackNation. No longer will we… Do you have little snacks to eat as the day progresses and the free coffee. Oh, that’s the best.


Marlene Hoffman:It is. [crosstalk 00:04:18]


Danny Ryan:The free coffee is a very, very good thing. So tell me, and you were hinting a little bit on this. Tell me about some of the… And maybe just compare this as you’re starting up other jobs or other roles. What have been the challenges of starting a new job during the pandemic? Any specific stories or anything that’s come up that has been really different this time, as you’ve started up in this new role?


Marlene Hoffman:In the past you were able to go into the organization on the first day and you were able to meet a lot of people. This time I was meeting them virtually through meetings, and so it felt disconnected to begin with. I think that was the biggest thing, but thankfully I had Austin and you who were very forthcoming and helping me locate things, helping me to get the day started off and the weeks started off on a good note and being just helpful. That was the biggest part. But, yes, I felt very distanced from everyone and didn’t feel that team environment that you normally feel the first day. But now, as I came into the office last week, I had several people that met me periodically through the day, and that was really nice to actually have one-on-one conversations.


Danny Ryan:You were able to meet up with Linda and Barbara. Anyone else? Who else… Did you meet up with Jeff?


Marlene Hoffman:I met up with Pete-


Danny Ryan:Okay, with Pete.


Marlene Hoffman:… and also Jeff and Austin.


Danny Ryan:Awesome. Awesome. So did you pay Jeff your $100 for the referral?


Marlene Hoffman:No, I didn’t. I made him buy me coffee though.


Danny Ryan:There you go. There you go. And it’s been neat. You could see during this pandemic time, we’re trying to… It’s tough because it’s tough on a company’s culture because you don’t have that time around the water cooler or just at work where you’re running into people. And so we’ve talked about this in past podcasts. We have this concept called the morning brew, which on Tuesday mornings, like today, Tuesday morning, we’re trying to check in and be able to see everyone. And it’s nice. It’s just a nice way to…


It’s not the same thing as being in person, but at least it’s a step in the right direction where you’re able to see everybody, to put a face with the name and get to spend a little bit of time together. And now you’ve even kicked it up a notch. You were in on the first town hall meeting. We have a monthly town hall and then this last one, you covered marketing, so you’ve been jumping right in to everything. That’s been awesome.


Marlene Hoffman:Very good. Well, I enjoy it. I love marketing. I love being able to tell the story. I love believing in the company that I work for. And so that’s really important to me.


Danny Ryan:That’s great. One of the things I want to ask you, the ThreeWill values, and we have this up on the website, are there any of them that sort of pop out to you that are ones that you… Maybe one that’s more important than the others, or any of them? Maybe it’s a couple of them, but as you read through the values, and I can go through them if you want me to, or maybe you already have them pulled up, but any of them that end up resonating with you?


Marlene Hoffman:Well, I really liked all of them to begin with. I mean, it’s a part of the culture at ThreeWill. I was very proud whenever I started researching ThreeWill because, as someone looking for a job, I wanted to make sure that it was an organization that I wanted to be working with. So teamwork was number one, and I have really felt that in my first 30 days, how the practice leads, the owners, people around me have been more than willing to step in and help me when I was trying to accomplish a task or something and find something. And as well as growth. I love to learn new things, and so I feel like at ThreeWill, that has been an awesome opportunity for me because every day there’s something new to learn. So I’m very excited about that. And I know there’s more growth to come.


Danny Ryan:That’s awesome. Yeah. It’s a bit like a fire hose, right? You just try to take it as much as you can.


Marlene Hoffman:Yes.


Danny Ryan:But, yeah, it’s one of those things and it’s a great environment to be able to grow because everybody around you is so willing just to jump in and help you where they can. It’s not a me versus you thing. I think that’s something really important that Tommy and I wanted to create in the company. And there’s a lot of people who are very smart but very humble. And if you want to grow, surrounding yourself with those types of people becomes very important. And then eventually you just start picking up so many other things, and I think the humility also rubs off on you as well so that you see, even while you’re learning new things and maybe you’re the expert in the room, you sort of think back and think of the people who taught you and who picked you up, and you don’t use that to feed your ego or feed your pride, and you’re there to help other people out as well. It’s really important.


Marlene Hoffman:Exactly. I agree.


Danny Ryan:So tell me about… I want to know something I don’t know about you, because I’ve got, outside of work hobbies, what… Tell me something I don’t know. Tell me something that… What are you passionate about? What are some things that we need to know about Marlene, that we don’t know already? Give me some good stuff.


Marlene Hoffman:Well, number one, I have a small mini farm. I know-


Danny Ryan:A mini farm?


Marlene Hoffman:… it’s very surprising, very few [inaudible 00:10:32] that about me.


Danny Ryan:All right.


Marlene Hoffman:I have a little [inaudible 00:10:34] and I have miniature goats. I actually have 12.


Danny Ryan:You have 12… A mini farm and miniature goats?


Marlene Hoffman:They’re all little pets. Yes. They’re very spoiled. Yes.


Danny Ryan:Oh, my goodness. I did not know this.


Marlene Hoffman:Many people, when they look at me, they’re like “What?” I love it.


Danny Ryan:So are these there in your backyard? I assume.


Marlene Hoffman:We have a fenced in area. Yes. We have a large… Well, we have a large pasture for them because they’re so small. It’s close to two acres.


Danny Ryan:Ah, nice. [crosstalk 00:11:12] Nice. So you having a mini farm, your stock just went up as far as Tommy’s concerned, because he’s the farmer. He loves his organic farming. So that’s awesome. What do you grow? Is there any sort of special things that you like to grow in your garden?


Marlene Hoffman:It’s mainly just produce that we have at the house. So anything that can be put into the freezer or canned, that kind of thing. So, have some grapes, just little things.


Danny Ryan:Awesome. And by a mini garden, it just means it’s small? Or is there something special about it that makes it a mini garden?


Marlene Hoffman:No, just small. It’s just big enough for what we consume.


Danny Ryan:Well, that is so cool. So neat. Good stuff. Good stuff. I learned something new today. Anything else before we wrap up at all?


Marlene Hoffman:I don’t think so. Now that I-


Danny Ryan:Well, that wasn’t too bad, was it? It wasn’t too bad. I appreciate you doing this. Again, it’s one of those things and hopefully this is a way not only can people outside of ThreeWill get to know you better when they’re interacting with you, but also inside of ThreeWill. I think it’s just good. There’s nothing but good things that can come from getting to [inaudible 00:12:34] both inside and outside of work, so I appreciate you taking the time to do this. I look forward to seeing the great things that you do at ThreeWill and excited to have you part of the team and just want to thank you. Even within this first month, thank you for all the hard work that you’ve put in, and we want to wish you the best of luck in this upcoming months and the years to come. So, welcome to the ThreeWill team, Marlene.


Marlene Hoffman:Well, thank you. I appreciate it.


Danny Ryan:You bet. Thank you so much everybody for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.


Automated:Thank you for listening to the Work Together Better Podcast. We’re available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re looking for a partner to help you craft a modern digital workplace in the Microsoft cloud, please come by and see us at That’s the number three spelled out, Thank you and have a great day.


Danny Ryan:I knew what you’re up to. I see your plan. I’m onto you. This looks great. And I thank you so much for walking us through this and taking the time to go through this. And thank you for just personally growing and seeing a need that’s out there and a way to support the black community and and just doing something like this, so that you’re growing. It’s just another sign of how awesome you are. And just, this is just wonderful stuff that you’ve done here.


And also as you’re building this from a marketing, I’d love to help out, however I can, with my bad ideas. You can just take me or them. But, this is great stuff. So, thank you for taking the time to show this off. And again, for just to reiterate there, to get this off of the, we must do a little bit more promotion maybe here, that is the website. And then you’ll just search on, it’s both in the Play Store and the App Store, and you’ll just search for Blackible there. [crosstalk 00:24:34]. And then, or do you want people to follow you on Twitter or any other the social ways or anything that you would really like to point out that people can follow what you’re up to here?


Perry Kankam:I mean, the most ideal and biggest support is just to have the app and actually go out and just make it a thing, a fun thing. Hey, I want to support one restaurant a month, or… I don’t really care for the followers and stuff. I just actually want these businesses to kind of feed off of this and kind of make this a Yelp sort of, if possible, that actually helps these businesses grow. So, as long as they have the app, or Blackible search in Google Play or the App Store, I think that’s enough. The rest is [crosstalk 00:25:19] going to do what it has to do.


Danny Ryan:I’d encourage people to write a review after you go to a place.


Perry Kankam:Yes. Totally.


Danny Ryan:If it’s a place that you love that is something that you want to promote within your community, then go review it and make sure [crosstalk 00:25:35] other people know about the place. Share. It’s really easy for people to do that, as well.


Perry Kankam:Yeah. Because that’s the only way. So, for sure. Share it and yeah. Reviews are… And that’s one thing, I think I have this idea in my PR list, which might not be such a great idea, but I’m going to be doing random LAFCo draws of maybe a $100 for people who’ve left actual, genuine reviews and stuff like that. So, I feel like that’s going to be the component. That’s actually helping Yelp move fast a lot because people actually leave reviews. People come back and it’s like a fun thing. So, I need to turn that around and try to make it a fun thing for people to leave reviews. Because, me in the past, I was not the review guy. But, now, if something’s actually blows my mind or something is very, very below par, I actually come back and leave a review so I just know, because it just helps.


So, one last thing. I actually, I’m still writing this algorithm of function, but it’s for the database that we’re going to be actually auditing these businesses. I’m just waiting for it to grow a little more. But after every month or every other month, what this function is going to do is take every single place or business that we have on file. If you have less than two stars, you get kicked off. So, I just want some exclusivity with this. And I think when people have exclusivity, they’re more likely to use things because they know things that actually, the work’s been done for them, they just have to go check it out. So, if you’re getting all these bad reviews and it’s continuous you’re… Yeah, you’re going to get kicked off and you’re going to have to join the long line and try to make it back on again. So, yeah. That’s a function I’m actually kind of rewriting for the database.


Danny Ryan:Just one last idea. Or since I’m a marketing guy. You’ve just, the way that you’ve described this is this is Yelp for black owned businesses. Right. I think that’s a really, that summarizes what you’ve got here. And I think that’s… Because people will go, “What is this?” And describing in a way that people understand, I think that’s [crosstalk 00:27:39].


Perry Kankam:That’s the one-liner, for sure.


Danny Ryan:That’s your one-liner. I don’t know if you need anything more than that. But, and that everybody knows, “Okay, well I get that. I get what you’re trying to do there.” So, great stuff. Good seeing you. I look forward to seeing you in person someday.


Perry Kankam:Yeah.


Danny Ryan:Hope when we get back, maybe after the new year, whenever we get back into the office, but congratulations on this. Continue the good work. Last thing. What do you think are some of the, where do you want to take to projects from this? Is there any certain technologies or anything you’ve learned maybe in general that you feel like you want to do use on your next project at ThreeWill?


Perry Kankam:Yeah. So, for sure, Angular, I actually ended up using my website as React because I did some React stuff in SharePoint building SPFx, which is a custom web part for two clients, so far. But, I didn’t go as deep as I wanted to. So, that’s why I actually delved into learning more of it. And then, that’s kind of why I decided to just use React for the actual website. So, I have used some of these languages at ThreeWill already, but yeah, definitely React would like to delve more into it if any projects do open up. They’re challenging one-page languages, but they’re fun when the challenges are rectified or figured out. So, yeah, for sure. The newer languages Angular is by Google, React is Facebook. Yeah. The JavaScript languages are definitely where I’m taking my focus more now.


Danny Ryan:Great stuff. Well, thank you for doing this and it’s good catching up with you and I hope you have a great fall and we’ll talk to you soon. Okay? Thanks, Perry.


Perry Kankam:All right. Thanks, man. Thank you, guys. Talk to you later.


Danny Ryan:Bye bye.


Thank you for listening to the Work Together Better podcast. We’re available on SoundCloud, iTunes, Stitcher, and Tune-In. If you’re looking for a partner to help you craft a modern digital workplace in the Microsoft cloud, please come by and see us at That’s the number three spelled out W I L Thank you and have a great day.



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